Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Junuary

 


Hello Dear Friends! Here it is already June, and I can't believe 

half the year is gone. 

We are still stuck in a very wet and cool weather pattern

here in western Washington state.

This is not unusual and is frequently known as 'Junuary'.  

All the rain has created lush growth, but has inhibited 

any sort of control over it all, so I have been using 

this time to do a little entertaining and socializing. 

Recently we invited old friends over for a Southwest style dinner. 


  

I pulled out all of my collected decor from our 

time living in Tucson, and visits to Arizona over the years. 

I made the tray using decoupage with a scenic napkin from The Desert Museum.

The little painting is from Tucson. 

We were newly-wed when we moved to Tucson, Arizona. 

Growing up in small, New England towns, we felt the need to escape

and have some adventure before we settled down to start a family. 

We lived in a desert bungalow on the boundary of the Saguaro National Park

for two years. 

It was like moving to another planet for two born and raised New Englanders. 

We fell in love with the desert and always wanted to move back, 

but the fates had a different plan for us, so I have settled 

for the occasional visit and a small collection of treasured mementos and memories. 



My new 'Pioneer Woman' dish set that the Mr. gifted 

to me for Christmas, lends itself beautifully to 

the bright and colorful southwest style. 

With the weather being so gloomy, I wanted 

to brighten things up! 





I made guacamole from a recipe I've had for years. 

It's easy and so delicious, and not too spicy. 

Here's the recipe:


Classic Guacamole

2 large ripe avocados, mashed

1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion

2 tbsp lemon juice (1/2 lemon)

2-5 drops hot pepper sauce, if desired

1/4 to 1/2 tsp garlic powder ( I used one clove minced garlic)

1/4 tsp salt and dash of pepper

1 med. tomato, chopped fine

2 tbsp finely chopped green chilies (canned) or 1 sm. fresh chili, chopped

xx

Mix all ingredients and serve with tortilla chips. 

Will keep for a day or two in the refrigerator. 



Tequila sunrise fixings. 
Orange juice, tequila and a splash of grenadine (the sunrise). 


We have known our dear friends for over 20 years. 

Ramblin' Man and he were co-workers

and immediately hit it off. Both married their 

high-school sweethearts and were strong family men, 

with the same sense of humor. 

Through the years we've shared achievements and milestones, 

along with hardships, loss and unspeakable sorrow. 

We've shared weddings and funerals,

and now, retirement and old age.

xx 

"Age appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn,

old wine to drink, old friends to trust, 

and old authors to read."

- Francis Bacon -



I set up a taco bar on my 'Kitchen Queen' Hoover cabinet. 

The enamel top slides out to make a large surface 

perfect for serving. 






All the fixings, including Spanish rice. 


Soft tacos. 



I just found the taco shell holders at my local grocer during 'Cinco de mayo'. 
I'm always looking to add to my collections. 
xx


A peek at the cabinet shelves. 

I crocheted the 'doily', which is actually a dish cloth! 

I also sewed the tied-up bundle of lavender sachets. 

These are great to repel pantry moths. 


My kitchen window with my pepper and tomato salt and pepper shakers. 

Can you have too many? 

When I was a little girl, I remember visiting my Grandmother's 

little cottage for Sunday dinner (My Dad's Mom). 

She had a 'sun porch' with windows all around where 

we could play. In that little room were a few toys, 

some comfy chairs and footstools, her little parakeet in a cage, 

and best of all, her glass curio cabinet that held dozens 

of fascinating salt and pepper shakers! 

She would pick out a few that my sisters and I could play 

with, as long as we promised not to chip or drop them. 

Some were pairs of puppies and kittens, some were little 

fruits or vegetables, and some were kitchen appliances 

or tiny figurines. 

I wonder if my Grandmother knew that this simple 

gesture would create such wonderful memories for 

me? She's been long-gone, and I wish that I had told her, 

but I think she knows. 

xx


My overstuffed taco. 
Believe it or not, I was able to roll it up,
but, once done, I couldn't set it down! 
Yum! 



Streusel cake for dessert, (can you tell the Mr. cut the cake?) 
served with coffee while we watched an old movie. 
'Under the Tuscan Sun' 

Such a favorite! 

It was wet and rainy, so we couldn't walk through 
the wildflowers, but maybe you would like to go! 


Buttercup and Forget me not.



The wildflowers have taken over the front lawn
and it's been so wet and rainy, 
with Ramblin' Man on the mend from his mishap, that we 
decided to just enjoy it as is. 







Bugle weed, forget me not and buttercup


Barberry and forget me not. 



Columbine



Bleeding Heart


Pink herb Robert, yellow buttercup, blue forget me not. 
Some holly on the side. 


Fringe cup.


Wild bleeding heart. 

These are just some of the flowers blooming right now. 
Such a beautiful time of year. 

With so much turmoil and strife going on in this world, 
I find that it's so important to take time to appreciate the 
beauty. 
The simple pleasures of a walk in the garden or woodland, 
or a drive through a pretty neighborhood or the countryside, clears the mind
and brings me closer to the healing powers of nature.
Even a few potted flowers on the deck, 
enjoyed with a cup of tea, can do wonders for my spirit.
It grounds me, so that I can be there for my loved ones
during these tumultuous times. 
xx 
 


With the price of groceries at an all-time high, 
I am very careful to utilize all of my leftovers. 
Here, I've stuffed some peppers with the leftover 
seasoned taco beef mixed with the Spanish rice, 
and served with the leftover fixings on top.

I stuff the whole peppers, set them in a pan that 
holds them upright (I used a loaf pan for two), 
and put about an inch of water on the bottom of the pan. 
Bake, covered, for approximately 45 min. to one hour 
at 375 degrees. 
Cut in half and top with salsa, sour cream and shredded cheese. 

So good. 

xx




Some pretty scenes on our visits to 'the kid's' homes. 

xx

We've been catching up with our visiting 
now that we are feeling better. 

Three of my children live over an hour's drive away, 
and one lives in the same town. 
xx

We really enjoy the drives, though. 

A few more pretty scenes along the way...










I hope that you are finding time to enjoy old friends, the love of family, 
and the beauty of this magical time of year, Dear Friends. 
xx

"Wishing to be friends is quick work, 
but friendship is slow-ripening fruit."
- Aristotle -

"A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere,
Before him I may think aloud."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson -

xx















Monday, May 16, 2022

Celebrations of Spring


Hello, Dear Friends. Time is racing along and here 
we are celebrating the middle of May already! 

I hope that everyone who celebrates it, had a lovely Mother's Day.

I've been sick the last few weeks with the dreaded Covid. 
Yea, I know. 
I've been so careful, but I let down my guard 
 and well, here I am. 
I am feeling much better and I'm glad that I am vaccinated 
and also had my booster shot.

I had serious fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, 
and of course, lots of congestion. 
I pretty much felt like a wet noodle and 
just hung out on the recliner in the library 
all day, with the bedroom to myself. 
Luckily, Ramblin' Man didn't catch it! 
He had his own problems to deal with. 
More on that later...
I started this post right after Easter, before getting sick, so I will take 
you along on life up to today. 




The weather has been mostly cool and wet, 
here in the foothills, 
with system after system swirling down 
from Alaska. I have been unable to get outside very often. 
It's been rather depressing, which doesn't help
my state of mind, what with the endless sorrows 
coming out of Ukraine, and the political conflicts 
and violence here in the states, not to mention, catching Covid. 
xx

So, while I have been shaking my head in dismay, with tears of sorrow
at what is taking place, I've been working on healing and attending to my own 
little world here. 



To get ready for Easter dinner at my daughter's house, 
I painted some clay pots so that I could gift the ladies 
with flowers. 


I painted them inside and out with latex porch and floor paint in gray. 
Painting them inside and outside keeps moisture 
from seeping into the clay and lifting the paint.



Then I dry-brushed the outside and inside rim with white craft paint
 (In one direction) and rubbed it with a rag while wet to give it a concrete look. 


I added a 'ribbon' of chiffon fabric from 
 a gown that I had to shorten for my daughter a while ago. 
I couldn't bear to throw away the long ribbon 
of fabric that I had left over. 
xx

I used a piece of double-stick tape on either side 
of the pot to hold the ribbon in place. 


I had enough for the six pots that I painted. 
I tucked some potted fuchsia inside
and voila'! 

Latex porch and floor paint will last several years outdoors
without fading and take on a charming, weathered look. 


My daughter, Heather's house looked so pretty, 
all decorated for Easter. 




The potted plants are gifts from my daughter-in-law, Jen. 




More little gifts from daughter, Heather. 



Heather is the queen of charcuterie boards. 



Here she is on the right with sister, Jennie.

xx

We had a delicious dinner of baked ham, cheesy potatoes,
roasted veggies, green beans and salad. 
I brought deviled eggs. 



Then it was time for the Easter egg hunt! 
All five of the grand boys lined up, wrangled by daughter, Jennie, 
waiting for the word, 'Go!'

It was a rare, sunny and warm day. 

A beautiful day in every way. 

xx


We also celebrated Jennie's birthday recently. 
xx

(Having a little fun with her age candles - even 
though she could pass for 24, I think!)


Another beautiful table at Jennie's house, 
courtesy of sister Heather, who helped 
Jennie's husband Steve host.  





Heather made ice-cubes with berries and herbs frozen inside. 
The drink was a delicious gin and sweet grapefruit juice concoction. 


 Appetizers. 
I made the bruschetta. 
Here's the recipe:

Bruschetta

3 lbs tomatoes, cored, seeded and finely chopped.
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
or 1/4 cup dried, more or less, according to taste 
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Serve with sliced baguette, brushed with olive oil and toasted, or plain, like I did. 
Yum! 



Heather's husband, Eric's home-made spaghetti sauce. 
We have a family of wonderful cooks. 
Except for Ramblin' Man. 
He has many talents, but cooking is not one of them. 
xx


Here we are enjoying our time with the family. 


 On the way home we were treated with a view 
of 14,411 ft. Mt. Rainier in its entirety in the evening light. 

xx



The next day, Ramblin' Man took advantage of 
another rare sunny day to work on the playhouse
he is building for the grandkids. 
He had the ladder against the side while 
he worked on the roof, nailing on plywood, 
when the ladder slid, flipped around and sent him 
flying backwards into one of the cement piers. 
His lower back took the brunt of it, scraping 
 patches of skin and knocking the wind 
out of him. 


View of playhouse from the deck
with newly laid plywood roof. 

I had a migraine that day and was debating 
whether to lie down or go and sit on the deck
in the sunshine for a while. 
I chose the deck and that is when I heard him 
calling for me. 
He always calls me 'Honey', but when he 
is very serious about something, he calls 
me by my name, Karen. 
When I heard my name, I looked down and there 
he was, looking pale and unsteady, but standing. 
I helped him inside and patched him up. 
He is feeling much better now, 
but still a little bit stiff and sore. 

So, of course, once I got over my initial gratitude 
that he was in one piece, I was so upset
that he wasn't more careful. 
He did get some sense knocked into him, though,
without my having to say one word. 
There was no sense in adding insult to injury.
xx 
Of course, he could lecture me on letting down 
my guard and catching Covid, so Touche'! 

At the end of April, I went to my first flea-market 
in over 2 years with daughter, Heather and daughter-in-law, Jen. 


We were so excited! 

The market had a definite 'Farmhouse' style theme to it, 
which is their decorating style. 
Mine is a little more 'Country Cottage', but I found 
some little treasures never-the-less.


Carved wood bookends. 


Long length of vintage crocheted lace. 


Nice wooden bowl. 


Carved wood plaques. 


Apple cutting board. 


Ceramic bunny for next Easter. 


Authentic 1950's tablecloth in beautiful condition. 


 Red enamel bucket for my collection of rolling pins. 


I'm pretty sure this flea-market was where I caught Covid. 
Nobody was wearing a mask, so I took a risk. 
I'll never do that again! 

xx

Here are some pretty scenes from my trips to and from the 
grocery store a few weeks ago. 







The rainbow was a nice surprise after a cold rain. 


While I was sick, my daughter, Heather and family,
sent over some home-made cream of potato soup 
with all the fixings. 
There was enough for several meals. 


So delicious and welcome, and a relief from 
Ramblin' Man's toast and tea. 





Sweet message and drawing from the grand boys. 
xx



Then, a few days later, chicken noodle soup, rolls and cookies 
came from my son, Gabe and wife! 
The company they ordered from is called 'Spoonful of Comfort'.
There was enough for two dinners for both of us. It came with 
a pretty ladle, too, all packaged so nicely with 
interesting quotes about food. 

Along with that they sent a new DVD player and some movies
so I could watch them in the library! 
Yea, I'm pretty spoiled. 

I was sick on Mother's Day, so I spent the day in isolation. 


But this past weekend, my daughters came for
a belated Mother's day visit. 
(I am now testing negative)
They brought delicious chicken salad sandwiches, pasta salad, 
and lemon poundcake for dessert. 


After lunch, they gifted me with a beautiful gift basket 
full of goodies. 


New gardening gloves, clippers and plant mister, 
herbal seed bombs, hand cream and sweet 
book and plant. 


A fancy 'Mom' cookie and salted caramel chocolates. 


New watercolor paints and work-books. 



The books take a beginner like me through the steps to complete
the painting, with the sketch already done on the next page! 


A leather-bound watercolor journal. 
xx

"All that is gold does not glitter.
Not all those who wander are lost:
The old that is strong does not wither.
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken:
Renewed shall be blade that was broken. 
The crownless again shall be King."
- J.R.R. Tolkien -


Sweet, embroidered frame and message board. 


xx


A sweet pop-up card from my Grandson. 


Botanical prints and tea towel. 

We had a wonderful visit.

When I told them how generous they were, 
they said that I deserved it for raising them 
and their 2 brothers and now that they are 
mothers themselves, they understand 
how difficult that was. 
xx 

 



A reward for all of the rain. 
xx



Through all of the difficulties of life, 
the sacrifices, the hardships, 
the ups and downs, there are 
rewards. 
Hopefully, we develop character, resilience 
and fortitude. We learn from our mistakes. 
We forgive those who have wronged us, 
not only for them, but for the lessons we learned. 
Hopefully this is compassion and the lesson 
of how not to treat one another. 

We learn to walk in another's shoes, 
while taking the high road, 
and live in such a way that we feel peace 
with ourselves and the choices we make. 
In a world of darkness and hate, 
we must shine the light of goodness and love. 

Love is more powerful than hate. 
It's time to take our power back. 
xx



"What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson-

"Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe-

"Reputation is what men and women think of us;
character is what God and Angels know of us.
-Thomas Paine-

 
xx




 


 

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